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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-10-11 10:00 AM
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Autism treatments are falling short
08 April 2011

DEPRESSING news: treatments for autism spectrum disorders are largely ineffective, though a glimmer of hope remains for behavioural interventions, especially in young people. So concludes a set of comprehensive reviews this week.

The only drugs of any benefit were the antipsychotics risperidone and aripiprazole. They alleviate "challenging" behaviour and hyperactivity, but have side effects which limit their use. Antidepressants didn't help at all. "Strikingly little evidence exists to support benefit for most treatments," concludes a team led by Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Behavioural interventions emerged with more credit. The team said these improved cognitive performance, language skills and adaptive behaviour skills in some young children (Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1542/eds.2011-0426).

Susan Hyman, at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, says that the aim isn't to treat autism, but to help children cope with their symptoms. "It is the elbow grease of parents, teachers and therapists that is the basis of intervention for autism spectrum disorders," she says.

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NoDangerHere Donating Member (10 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-03-11 07:13 PM
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1. Sometimes I hear about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy...
Edited on Tue May-03-11 07:13 PM by NoDangerHere
...but my gut is telling me it's not a very good idea. It's pure oxygen and I think if something could go wrong with that, it will.
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lightningandsnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-26-11 06:38 AM
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2. Wow, this is pretty ableist.
Edited on Thu May-26-11 07:01 AM by lightningandsnow
Autism is a human variation. Yes, some of the symptoms of it can be distressing, but any "treatment" must go towards actually helping autistic people and not just making neurotypical society happy. And it's "depressing" if autistic people can't just become normal? Really?

I guess I must be "depressing" too, because I'll have a learning disability no matter what people do to try to "cure" me. There are strategies I can use to work around it, but it's just not enough if I can't be "normal", is it?
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RosesAreRed Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-11 10:25 PM
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3. 100% Agree
I've had the pleasure of working with, and knowing a number of autistic people throughout the years, and the one constant I've learned is that people will repeatedly underestimate their capabilities. Sure, neurons are wired a bit differently in those people, however all too often they're forced into rigid programs designed by people without any clue about autism in general - these treatments are often barbaric (chelation therapy, anybody?), and only result in a more traumatized person. Generally speaking, autistic people have extreme talents in obscure areas - the array of different skills and abilities is very varied, some of whom have extreme spatial reasoning abilities, others are able to organize and catalogue information better than any 'typical' human is able to - those are just two small examples.

My own view is that these therapies are designed around creating a "normal" person, suppressing and otherwise redirecting a lot of the inbuilt talent that these individuals have - for the purposes of making them appear more politically correct, or some such nonsense. I feel we need to indulge autistic people in the skills and abilities they show an affinity toward - and direct them into a job or something productive that would leverage these abilities.

Unfortunately the realities of modern society are such that virtually nothing is merit based, and without a paper certificate you paid $200,000 for, you're viewed as worthless by the masters of the universe. C'est la vie.
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